Sunday, June 8, 2014

Those in glass houses and all that...

Kenny Farquharson of Scotland on Sunday, in a tweet about the Populus poll which so far has been retweeted 26 times -

"The SNP there, heralding a new #indyref poll that has 548 respondents and doesn't ask the actual #indyref question."

Hmmm. I might have more respect for smug comments of that sort if Kenny hadn't withheld crucial  information about the jiggery-pokery that took place in his own publication's last ICM poll, while at exactly the same time leading people up the garden path with a tweet about how that poll would have been worse for Yes if a far less important methodological change had not been made.

In any case, one half of his objection to the Populus poll doesn't even make sense - there is no problem with a sample size of 500-odd. No problem at all. That kind of sample would be considered absolutely routine in the US, and indeed two out of Angus Reid's three indyref polls last year had samples of about 500. No, the only issue with the Populus subsample is that it probably wasn't weighted to Scottish demographic target figures - and that would still have been an issue even if the sample had been ten times as large.

As for the indyref question not having been asked, I wonder if Kenny had any sarcastic comment to make about Better Together's antics in respect of the last Progressive Partnership poll, which a) didn't use the indyref question, and b) was claimed to be a YouGov poll even though it wasn't? Perhaps he did say something, but he can't have said it very loudly.


  1. Different topic.

    Heard John Curtice on GMS talking about there being some evidence that the Don't Knows are starting to make up their minds.

    I can't see any evidence for that at all, Poll of Polls average DK has been flat at 17% +/- 1% since last September.

    The shift looks very much like NO to DK and DK to YES.

    James / SS, any observation on that ?

  2. He might be referring to the underlying undecideds (ie. people who say Yes or No but who admit they may still change their minds), rather than the headline Don't Knows. Last week's Ipsos-Mori poll showed the highest ever figure for definitely decided voters. But that figure has been fairly volatile and I'm not sure how much trust can be placed in it.

    There's the odd other scrap of evidence - there's been a decrease in the number of undecideds reported by TNS recently, but not a dramatic one.

  3. Been out canvassing. Met the daughter of a UKIP voter who is very conflicted.

    It seemed to me that neither she nor her parent were UKIP as it now is.

    My best advice to her was to look at the whole package for each party, and compare their past performance in power if any) to their promises.

  4. Anonymous,
    It might also help make your argument with that kind of conflicted UKIP friendly voter if you had a list from their most recent manifesto, showing some of their actual non EU policies (such as a massive tax cut for the rich, speed up of marketisation of the NHS through voucher payment systems [backdoor creation of a cash payment system], repealing the human rights act, 40% increase in defence spending and the conversion of the Scots Parliament into the Holyrood Westminster Scots MP Grand Comittee) as opposed to the UKIP proposition sold to them by the BBC and MSM.

    This also gives an easy route into exposing that same MSMedia's bias on politics in general and independence referendum politics in particular.

    I hear and agree with what you are saying. Dismissal of the vast majority of UKIP voters in Scotland as anything other than those completely disillusioned with the status quo is a great mistake. Especially to those of us campaigning for the greatest change to the UK status quo in it's 300 year history!